A Real Good Story


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I last posted about “Keeping It Real” in writing and mentioned how some people responded to my book, Believing In Horses, turning fiction into reality. Last week, some local children made a significant donation to local rescues in their “Kids Can Do BIG Things, Too!” campaign. Please welcome my guest blogger, Kristy Alvarez, founder of Desire Ministries and the leader of this campaign, who tells the story in her words. 

As many of you know, or may not know, through Desire Ministries, we have been running an after-school Horse Club program since 2006.  We meet with the students of Cornerstone Christian Academy on a weekly basis so that the students who participate can learn the basics of horseback riding and horsemanship at Loftmar Stables in Bowie, Md.

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Critiquing Guidelines via Edie Hemingway

I blogged recently about the value of receiving critiques as a writer. I then fortunately received the following guidelines from co-Regional Advisor of the Maryland-Delaware-West Virginia Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, Edie Hemingway, on giving critiques. Edie graciously agreed to let me share these tips in my blog as a follow-up to my last post.

In Edie’s words, “I put these together when I started teaching my own workshops, based on my experiences ‘workshopping’ during my MFA program at Spalding University. I’ll also be using them for the online course I’m teaching this summer for McDaniel College’s graduate certificate program in Writing for Children and Young Adults.”

Edie Hemingway is the author of Road to Tater Hill
(Delacorte Press and Yearling paperback), winner of a 2009 Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and besides writing, teaches several writing workshops. If you’d like to find out more about her and her programs, she can be reached at
http://www.ediehemingway.com

This is a great list for those who belong to a critique group or plan on joining one. As Edie suggests, these are also useful during the revision process.

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Critiques

Writing critiquesIt’s fascinating how our perspectives can change over time. Last year I attended the regional Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Spring Conference and saw people receiving critiques from an agent, an editor, and two published authors. I thought, “What kind of people would want to put theirselves through that?” This year, I completed the first ten pages of my current manuscript and anxiously awaited for a chance to compete for one of the thirty available critique slots. I secured one of those sessions, and now completely understand the value critiques play in the writing process.

Admittedly, I’m having much more trouble with my current book, Believing In Horses, Too, than I did with my first book. When I wrote my first book, Believing In Horses, I sat down and wrote. I hadn’t studied books, followed blogs, attended conferences, or listened to webinars all telling me how to write better. I wrote, and revised, edited, and then fortunately had good editors and an excellent publisher. Somehow I thought all I’ve been learning over the past two years would make this next book easier. But it hasn’t. Knowing all that I’m doing wrong has made it that much harder.

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Kings of Colorado – Book Review

Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton

Not long ago, I received an e-mail that went something like this:

“Dear Valerie,
David E. Hilton’s debut novel KINGS OF COLORADO—now available in paperback (Simon & Schuster; January 3, 2012; $14.00)—is a powerful coming-of-age story set on a juvenile delinquent ranch in the Rockies….I would love to send you a copy of KINGS OF COLORADO to review, giveaway, or feature on Believing in Horses….” 

Since Simon & Schuster cared about my thoughts, I thought I would share them here as well.

In Kings of Colorado (Simon and Schuster, 2011) by David E. Hilton, Will Sheppard stabs, but does not kill, his father, and pays the price for the rest of his life. Sent to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory in Colorado across the country from his Chicago home, thirteen-year-old Will learns lessons one would hope a child protecting his mother from his abusive father would never have to learn. Two years at the brutal boys’ ranch toughens Will, but does not leave him devoid of emotions. His saving graces include friendships, a special horse he trains, and a kind nurse. Will endures one violent and tragic hardship after another, leaving the reader wondering if he can possibly survive.

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Judging a Writing Competition

Children's Writing Competition Poster I just participated as a judge in the first annual Voice For The Horse Children’s Writing Competition, on the topic of “Wild Horses.”  The founder of Voice For The Horse, Yvonne Allen, created the competition to provide an educational opportunity and to allow children to share their love for horses through their written words.  I agreed to be a judge for several reasons, but primarily because I felt a need to “give back,” and to encourage our next generation of writers.  Each entry inspired me — each a unique voice.  The children demonstrated dedication, passion, and a willingness to take a chance.  I loved their spirit. [Read more…]

Time Management in Writing

Does this sound boring to you?  Probably, but it’s likely the most important obstacle in the way for new writers.  With so many distractions, how does a writer focus on what’s really important – writing?  While there are many answers, I thought I’d offer some personal tips.  Now realize, I came upon most of these thoughts due to practicing poor time management in the first place, so don’t despair if you think you can’t break free from watching your writing time slip down the drain. [Read more…]